Local superstar Cornell "Nelly" Haynes recently donated $50,000 to the Martin Luther King Memorial Monument Project Foundation to help build a memorial to the civil rights leader that will educate young people and future generations about King and his accomplishments via a national tribute on the mall in Washington, DC.
The check was presented to Harry Johnson, president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Monument Project Foundation and general president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (the fraternity to which Dr. King belonged).
Two other prominent St. Louis Alpha's, Jacque Land, CEO of Platinum Group and president of 100 Black Men, and Darryl Jones, president of Tri-Tech were also present to receive the donation.
Johnson said, "The memorial will commemorate King's legacy and belief that every human being is valuable and necessary and that each of us is universally deserving of equitable access to the democratic ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Johnson also stated that the memorial will serve as an inspiration for people to fight racism, injustice and inequality.
The memorial design will use stone, water and trees to underscore the themes of democracy, justice and hope.
"I think anytime you can be in conjunction with a great man such as Dr. King, it's only right," Nelly said.
Organizers said the memorial will cost an estimated $100 million to build and maintain. The foundation has raised $65 million to date. Congress, which authorized the Alphas to establish the monument in 1996, has given the foundation until 2006 to collect the additional $35 million needed to break ground and begin construction.
No federal funds have been allocated for the building of the memorial, although Congress did grant four acres of land between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials to the project.
If you would like to contribute to the MLK Memorial, contact Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity's Epsilon Lambda Charitable Foundation at 421-5282 or mail donations to Epsilon Lambda Charitable Foundation c/o MLK Memorial, 3915 N. 19th St., St. Louis MO, 63178.